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Prepare Workers for These Winter Driving Hazards

If your workers drive on the job, they always face the typical road hazards. But in the winter, roads become even more hazardous when they’re covered in snow or ice or visibility is reduced because of the weather conditions.

So it’s important that you ensure that workers are prepared for winter driving and the hazards they may encounter. This chart is based on one from Shift into Winter and shows common winter driving hazards or factors that could contribute to vehicular accidents and the related control measures or actions you can take to address those hazards.

Hazards/Contributing Crash Factors Control Measures/Actions
Driver Fitness
Fatigue (such as short-term or chronic fatigue, or the impact of shift work)
  • Development of and compliance with fatigue and/or driver safety management policy and associated safe work procedures 
  • Compliance with the OHS laws
Alcohol/illegal drug impairment that affects cognitive and physical performance
  • Development of and compliance with substance management and/or driver safety policy and safe work procedures 
  • Compliance with the OHS laws
Medical impairment, such as known or undiagnosed health condition that affects ability to drive safely; use of medication impairing judgement/reaction time
  • Development of and compliance with substance management and/or driver safety policy and safe work procedures 
  • Compliance with the OHS laws 
  • Management commitment to worker health and wellness activities
Poor dietary habits that impairs cognitive and physical performance
  • Development of and compliance with driver safety policy and safe work procedures 
  • Management commitment to worker health and wellness activities.
Driving attitudes, behaviours, abilities
Attitudes about personal safety, such as maintaining a belief that you aren’t at risk of being involved in a work-related motor vehicle incident
  • Hiring practices that identify high-risk drivers
  • Administrative/organizational processes that support safe work behaviours
  • Worker training, education and supervision
  • Management compliance with the OHS laws
  • Worker compliance with safe work procedures, company policies, the motor vehicle and other statutes Â
Errors in judgement, such as driving too fast for winter weather conditions or misinterpreting highway or work-zone signage
  • Hiring practices that identify high-risk drivers
  • Administrative / organizational processes that support safe work behaviours 
  • Worker training, education and supervision
  • Worker compliance with safe work procedures, company policies, the motor vehicle and other statutes
High-risk driving behaviour, such as speeding, distraction or impairment
  • Hiring practices that identify high-risk drivers
  • Administrative/organizational processes that support safe work behaviours 
  • Worker training, education and supervision
  • Worker compliance with safe work procedures, company policies, the motor vehicle and other statutes
Disregarding company safety policies, applicable workplace safety regulations or motor vehicle laws
  • Hiring practices that identify high-risk drivers
  • Worker training, education and supervision
  • Worker compliance with safe work procedures, company policies, the motor vehicle and other statutes
Perception about driving abilities, such as a belief about one’s ability to safely regain control of a skidding vehicle
  • Hiring practices that identify high-risk drivers
  • Worker training, education and supervision
Errors in vehicle space management, such as driving to close to the vehicle in front
  • Hiring practices that identify high-risk drivers
  • Worker training, education and supervision
  • Worker compliance with safe work procedures, company policies, the motor vehicle and other statutes
Other Drivers
Other drivers following too closely
  • Travel avoidance or postponement 
  • Minimizing your driving time
  • Worker training, education and supervision
Other drivers engaging in high-risk driving behaviour
  • Travel avoidance or postponement
  • Minimizing your driving time 
  • Worker training, education and supervision
Driving judgement errors in driving errors made by other drivers
  • Travel avoidance or postponement 
  • Minimizing your driving time 
  • Worker training, education and supervision
Loss of vehicle control by another driver
  • Travel avoidance or postponement 
  • Minimizing your driving time 
  • Worker training, education and supervision
Drivers who don’t reduce their speed in the presence of workers, drivers or pedestrians on the side of the road
  • Travel avoidance or postponement 
  • Minimizing your driving time 
  • Worker training, education and supervision
Condition of company or personal vehicle
Improperly equipped vehicles, such as cars or light-duty trucks performing work duties for which they weren’t intended (such as transporting oversized or unsecured cargo) or vehicles driven without winter tires and emergency equipment
  • Improved vehicle selection and procurement
  • Administrative/organizational processes that support safe work behaviours 
  • Management compliance with OHS and other statutes
Poorly maintained vehicles (increasing the risk of a mechanical breakdown)
  • Adherence to vehicle manufacturers’ maintenance schedule
  • Administrative/organizational processes that support safe vehicle maintenance and repair 
  • Management compliance with OHS and other statutes
Snow covered vehicles, which may compromise driver visibility
  • Administrative/organizational processes that support safe work behaviours 
  • Worker compliance with safe work procedures, company policies, the motor vehicle and other statutes
Environmental Conditions
Winter weather that includes, but isn’t limited to, seasonal cold (7° to 1° degree Celsius), freezing or below freezing temperatures, significant rain events or precipitation, snow, black ice, fog, reduced daylight and avalanches
  • Travel avoidance or postponement 
  • Minimizing your driving time 
  • Administrative/organizational processes that support safe work behaviours 
  • Worker training, education and supervision
  • Worker compliance with safe work procedures, company policies, the motor vehicle and other statutes
Road conditions that include, but aren’t limited to, rain or snow covered roads, black ice, rutted snow, potholes
  • Travel avoidance or postponement 
  • Minimizing your driving time 
  • Administrative/organizational processes that support safe work behaviours 
  • Worker training, education and supervision
  • Worker compliance with safe work procedures, company policies, the motor vehicle and other statutes
Reduced visibility, such as glare; reduced daylight hours
  • Travel avoidance or postponement
  • Minimizing your driving time 
  • Administrative/organizational processes that support safe work behaviours 
  • Worker training, education and supervision
Workers at the road side
Roadside work zones, which include, but aren’t limited to, road and highway maintenance and construction crews, truck drivers, municipal workers, utility workers and emergency responders
  • Travel avoidance or postponement 
  • Minimizing your driving time
  • Administrative/organizational processes that support safe work behaviours 
  • Driver training, education and supervision
Pedestrians
Pedestrians are at greater risk of being struck by a vehicle during winter weather; other vehicles yielding for a pedestrian may stop abruptly in front of you
  • Travel avoidance or postponement 
  • Minimizing your driving time 
  • Administrative/organizational processes that support safe work behaviours 
  • Driver training, education and supervision

The OHS Insider has additional winter driving tools, including: